Knoxville is a "a-nature-loving-adventure-seeking-artsy-kinda-town" and many of its amazing attractions, restaurants with award-winning chefs, music, history and more are within a walking distance from each other. So, keep your car parked at your hotel (or in one of the affordable parking garages sprinkled downtown), lace up your favorite sneakers and set out on a walking tour of this great city.
Find the picture-perfect backdrop for your photos while enjoying Knoxville. From alleys to stairwells, the city is bursting with color thanks to local and visiting artists. Start planning your walk with this handy mural guide and stop by the downtown Visitors Center to see and learn more.
See a new side of Knoxville with the Downtown Knoxville Walking Tour, Visit Knoxville's latest self-paced, guided walking tour. This tour is offered on the VoiceMap app to users for $5.99 and uses GPS to play audio automatically, at the right time and place. The walking tour starts at the Visit Knoxville Visitors Center at 301 S. Gay Street and follows a comfortable, fixed route with turn-by-turn directions. Walk at your own pace, pause as needed, and stop for longer visits to galleries, attractions, and restaurants along the way. Once downloaded, listen to tours anytime as access doesn’t expire. Expect to spend 45 minutes guided around some of Knoxville's most historic architecture, pass through the heart of the city, and end at the iconic Sunsphere.
Immerse yourself in the dynamic music history of Knoxville on the self-guided Cradle of Country Music Walking Tour. See how Knoxville was a high note in the development in jazz, blues and rock n' roll. The free tour shares the city's ties with country greats such as Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, the Everly Brothers, Roy Acuff, Elvis Presley and many more. Check out the map here. There's even an audio version through VoiceMap.
Enjoy a collection of local Knoxville businesses from shopping to entertainment and dining on Market Square. You'll find a collection of local restaurants serving southern cuisine, sushi, fresh pastas and everything in between. A number of local breweries and rooftop bars are within walking distance as well. The square is also home to outdoor concerts, festivals, performances and more.
Conveniently on South Gay Street, a short walk from Market Square, you'll find the Museum of East Tennessee History. Here, you can learn about the people, places and significant events that helped shape East Tennessee into the region we know and love today. Through interactive and engaging exhibits, you can marvel at original artifacts dating back centuries, historic imagery and hear first-person accounts of what life was like in different time periods.
Across the street is the Tennessee Theatre, the Official State Theatre of Tennessee. Get your tickets for an evening performance of a mix of entertainment from the Knoxville Symphony, opera, country, silent film screenings and touring Broadway musicals like "Chicago." Stop in for Mighty Musical Monday at noon where you can hear the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ
A 3-minute walk from the Tennessee Theatre is the Bijou Theatre. This intimate, historic theatre hosts various music acts from around the nation as well as comedians, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. See talented musicians ranging from Molly Tuttle and the Golden Highway, The Wallflowers, Sam Bush Band and many more.
If you're looking for some more history, tour the historic home Blount Mansion, the city's oldest operating museum. The circa 1792 home was owned by U.S. Constitution signer William Blount. Blount also governed and led the Southwest Territory into becoming the union's 16th state. Tour the amazing artifacts on display and stroll the gardens, Knoxville's only free public garden.
A 10-minute walk from Market Square brings you to some foot-tapping music and Scottish-inspired cuisine at Boyd's Jig & Reel. The pub is at the heart of Scottish culture in East Tennessee, hosting nightly music, a large menu of whisky varieties and delicious fare including corned beef and cabbage sandwiches, haggis, fish and chips and cottage pie. Stop in for lunch or dinner.
Craving something sweet? Head to Cruze Farm on South Gay Street for fresh churned ice cream from the local dairy farm. Flavors change daily, so stop in for decadent flavors like sweet cream, sugar cookie dough, pumpkin, lavender honey and more.
The Knoxville Museum of Art celebrates the rich visual culture of East Tennessee by showcasing various artists' works from sculptures to photography, contemporary glass and painting to name a few. Not to be missed are the Thorne Rooms, which are among the nation's most well-known miniature diorama groups. Stop in for free to see the permanent and traveling exhibits.
The Sunsphere was built for the 1982 World's Fair and is an iconic architectural piece of Knoxville. For $5, you can visit the 4th floor observation deck and see a 360-degree view of Knoxville as well as the Great Smoky Mountains that stretch far beyond the horizon. Check out the exhibits on the 1982 World's Fair, memorabilia and gift shop for your own keepsake Sunsphere.
WDVX Blue Plate Special is a live performance radio show that features local and regional musicians Mondays to Saturdays. The Visit Knoxville Visitor Center hosts the show Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday while Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria (also walkable distance) hosts "The Big Plate" on Fridays. You'll hear blues, bluegrass, Celtic, country, folk and so much more.
If you want to go a little farther than your feet may carry you, hop on one of the free trolley routes in the city. The Green Line, The Blue Line and the Orange Line take you to various places throughout downtown Knoxville. Check out the map to start planning your perfect route. Note: Trolleys don't run on holidays or when there is a University of Tennessee football home game.
Keep planning your Knoxville getaway with more tips and tricks.